The World Wide Web is not just a major source of information in today’s world. It is also becoming an alternative way for people to take classes. Such courses — like their real-time counterparts — consist of far more than just lectures. Audio and video material are also used to teach the students.
Perhaps you have created some online courses of your own. If so, then this article will be of great help to you, for it will teach you how to create an effective virtual presentation that will make your online courses more attractive to those who take them.
Planning your Virtual Presentation
Like any large-scale project that you undertake, a virtual presentation must have a plan to go with it; you cannot just “play it by ear” or “wing it” or “make things up as you go along”. If you do, everything will just turn chaotic and out of control, to the point where you decide to just “throw in the towel” before you are even halfway through.
Here, then, are some questions of great consequence that you will want to answer before you proceed:
- What is the subject of this course? This is the most important question of all; the others will stem from it.
- Who will be taking the course? How would they benefit from this presentation?
- How many videos and audio files will I be making?
- What will be the exact purpose of each one?
- What kind of video or audio would be the best for a given aspect of my course?
- What should be included in each presentation? How would it help to clarify the topics under discussion?
You will not want to include anything that is unnecessary, for that will just clutter and confuse the presentation. Once you have all these questions answered, you can tackle the task of putting together your presentation.
One of the most important elements of any visual presentation is “white space”—the areas of the screen that will not be occupied (but not necessarily white—the screen can have a single color covering all unoccupied areas). The reason white space is so important is that if the screen is so crowded, it will be difficult or impossible for viewers to process what is on it. Space highlights key images in the video, drawing the viewer’s attention to it.
Use of Color
The ways in which you use color also plays a key role in determining the flavor of a video. The background color should contrast sufficiently with the presentation to make it stand out, while at the same time not clashing with it. Take into account too, that colors can have symbolic meaning which can give a certain undercurrent to the content of your presentation.
Purple, for instance, is a color that people generally associate with wealth and luxury, so it can be an appropriate choice when the subject is finance. Red is likewise associated with energy and action, so it would be useful in presentations where you want to make a strong impact. If there are certain brand colors or logos involved in your presentation, remember to coordinate the presentation colors to complement or include those.
Makers of virtual presentations speak of “control images” that, if properly used, can enhance the presentation. The placement of such images is a crucial part of getting the course message across. As mentioned above, crowding images too closely together can make it look confusing and distract an audience from the real content and thought process behind the presentation information.
Slides vs. Videos
Visual presentations can consist of either slides or videos, and which one you choose can also determine the placement of the elements. With a slide, for instance, the main image should go on the first slide, where it will not be easily forgotten. If you are making a video, on the other hand, then you might want to include the control image in a corner of the screen so that it imprints on the mind.
So far we have been discussing only video elements. But audio can be important too. When creating an audio file, you will need to make sure that your words are not only easy to hear and understand, but also convey the ideas in an expressive manner. This is especially true because no one can hear the gestures and facial expressions that you make while speaking.
Musical recordings can also be included in your class if they clarify some part of it. But of course you will have to make sure that you are not violating any copyright laws in doing so.
Placing the Visual Presentation on your Website
Now that you have made the visual presentation, you are now faced with the task of figuring out how to incorporate it into your class page.
If your presentation is a slide or a video, then it should be as conspicuous as possible. The best place to put it is right next to the text that connects with it. Again, there should be plenty of empty space surrounding the video link, and this is even more true with audio links, which take up less space. Also, viewers should have the option of watching in full screen form, because that way things are much easier to see and there are no distractions.
Online conferencing is another big trend in online education because it allows for increased accessibility and convenience without sacrificing quality. It essentially is a way for virtual presentations to be shared by people in different locations, which can also be a good way to save money on travel and other expenses.
In addition to the lectures, you can also share blogs, instant messaging, mailing lists, online polls and other things through online conferencing. Online conferencing software is available from many companies, either for free or at a price.
Cloud computing and virtual presentations
Virtual presentations can also be made in the cloud, which is an added convenience for those who might need to make a very complex presentation, or many different presentations. Such programs as iSpring Presenter and Articulate can help you to record cloud-based presentations and post them for educational and other purposes.
Like any other cloud computing solution, resorting to the cloud to produce and store your virtual presentations allows for added storage, security, and user support, which are great benefits no matter what kind of presentation you’re looking to create.
Remember that one of the most appealing things about online classes is that the student is not limited by how rapidly and accurately he or she can take notes in class. If he misses a part of the lecture, he can simply stop the player, go back, and play it over until he gets it.
He can also pause the lecture until he has gotten down all that is necessary. You should take advantage of these facts to create a virtual presentation that will be clear and attractive to your students.
Author’s Bio: Katelyn Roberts is a video and music blogger who uses free video converter at KoyoteSoft when creating videos for all purposes and sharing them online.